News

Class size caps are not the answer to class size pressures

Meeting target class sizes is becoming increasingly difficult as student enrolment fluctuates

April 11, 2019, Edmonton, AB — As school boards face the pressures of fluctuating student enrolment, meeting class size targets is becoming increasingly difficult. The need for predictable and sustainable funding is vital to managing these pressures, but class size caps are not the answer. The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) strongly believes class-sizes are an issue that needs to be addressed so we can stop the erosion of resources available for the classroom – an erosion that is forcing school boards to do more with less. But rural schools are facing different pressures than urban and metro schools.

While rural schools often encounter pressures due to decreased student enrolment, urban schools often encounter pressures due to increased enrolment. Fluctuating population changes within both urban and rural areas contribute to fluctuating student enrolment. As locally-elected representatives, school boards need flexibility and funding to address the issue—not government enforced caps.

“ASBA believes each and every student, regardless of their postal code, deserves a world-class education. Hard class-size caps do not take into account the diverse needs of today’s complex student systems. But as locally-elected representatives, school boards are in the best position to decide where funding should be used.”

-Lorrie Jess, President, ASBA

The availability of funding greatly affects the ability to hire additional teachers or staff to keep class sizes manageable, keep facilities running safely, and ensure appropriate transportation for students in urban, metro, and rural areas.

The ASBA asked member school boards their views on class sizes and the main pressures:

  • 77 per cent are opposed to class size caps;
  • Urban and rural communities face different and unique pressures; and,
  • Stable and predictable funding is needed to support deficits in transportation, facilities, and special needs, which will help keep class size pressures down.

Background:

Please see the executive summary on ASBA member thoughts and feedback regarding class size pressures.

The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) serves Alberta’s 61 locally-elected public, separate and francophone school boards. For more information visit, www.asba.ab.ca.

 

Media inquiries:

Rae Thygesen

Manager, Communications, ASBA

780.721.5910

rthygesen@asba.ab.ca